By far the greatest influence on me, both as a Christian and as an apologist is C.S. Lewis. I was fortunate to discover him very early on in my Christian walk and he has helped to shape my thinking in many ways.
I have been doing research recently on Lewis, reading both his works and books about him. One of the books that came my way was C.S. Lewis: A Life by Alister McGrath. Having read a number of books about Lewis, I wasn’t sure what McGrath would have to add. I’m glad that didn’t stop me.
This was one of the best books that I have read about C.S. Lewis. McGrath has so thoroughly researched Lewis that I now feel like I knew almost nothing before reading this book. McGrath really interacts with the historical and literary material, fleshing out what many fans consider a familiar story.
Some may struggle with certain aspects of the book. While McGrath obviously has tremendous respect for Lewis, this book is not designed as hero worship. McGrath presents a Lewis who is no saint, but who experienced God in the midst of his own weaknesses and struggles. Lewis’s relationship with Mrs. Moore and Joy Davidson are presented as being very complex and at points, disturbing. This need not tarnish Lewis, as the reader can appreciate him as a real human being, who is not so different from us.
McGrath’s writing style makes the book easy to read and it is filled with photos that help bring the reader into Lewis’s experiences. I particularly appreciated McGrath’s depth of exploring Lewis’s relationship with Tolkien. Numerous questions that I always had about Lewis, were answered in this book.
If you are a fan of C.S. Lewis, I highly recommend that pick up a copy of C.S. Lewis: A Life. Although I have not read it (yet), you might also want to consider McGrath’s The Intellectual World of C.S. Lewis.